Viral Marketing Initiatives

What makes a great viral marketing campaign? It all starts with thinking, planning, and strategy.

A good viral marketing campaign can inject new life into a business and make a large impact on a business’s bottom line. Using social media to spread a message through a viral process can reach great deal of people within a short amount of time, generating buzz that can translate to both increased brand awareness and new leads or sales.

Developing a successful strategy for a viral campaign requires excellent content as well as exceptional social networking skills. In 2010, Old Spice launched its “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign with a video ad that mixed humor with product promotion targeting woman.

The video was well-produced and garnered a great deal of viral buzz on social med. Old Spice leveraged the viral buzz to extend the campaign by replying to influencers and average social media users with more than 180 personalized videos in one day.

In the first 24 hours, the Old Spice responses videos generated nearly 6 million viral video views – that’s more views than Obama’s victory speech received in the first 24 hours after it was given.

The short time frame on the campaign kept it fresh and unique, which garnered an extreme amount of buzz in that short time. The buzz the campaign created not only increased brand awareness, but the rise in conversations could also be tied to an increase in sales if one existed.

While the Old Spice campaign had a unique follow up process, Charles Verhoeff, CEO of World Class Media, identified three tactics to drive leads and sales with viral marketing campaigns:

  • “Capture Identities (drive viewers to take action, fill out a form, call or get something free – contests are great ways to do this)… You have to offer something in exchange and they will give you their name and phone number for your salesmen to follow up on.”
  • “You have to follow up. We have found that once you capture the identities, it can take up to 18 emails to get people to trust you – even if you have great content, people have to read it and trust you. People forget you exist if you don’t continue to remind them why they should be doing business with you.”
  • “Once you captured the identity and followed up – you need to ask for reviews and referrals. Reviews are the new deal-breakers. A whole shift in the buying cycle of consumers was documented by some engineers at Google in their recent book “ZMOT – The Zero Moment of Truth” where they found that there is a whole new step in the buying cycle of consumers – they look for the truth on the Internet before they buy. Before I bought a RAM – I would definitely look for reviews and if they break down for consumers or not. Therefor if I found Tundra’s had better reviews. I’d go straight to Toyota. Even if I were a Farmer…”

What other viral marketing campaigns effective incorporate these elements into their strategy?


3 thoughts on “Viral Marketing Initiatives

  1. The Old Spice commercials are so recognizable! They did a great job with that campaign. Another campaign this reminds me of is the most interesting man in the world campaign by Dois Equis. This campaign is extremely memorable for both the character and product, and has also had memes created and shared virally.

  2. Lauren,
    Who would have thought that a product my Grandpa liked used could be made relevant again all because of a well-executed Social media campaign. Great Post and example!

  3. Old Spice is a great example. It is certainly humorous and unique. You mentioned something I haven’t seen yet and I think is often forgot and that is following up. Even if there is a call to action included, which there should, a follow up step is necessary as well. Social Media and the internet is so content rich that although an engaging or emotion evoking video, people will forget you. Following up will maintain brand awareness. Nice post!

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